With Australians becoming increasingly health-conscious, and a growing interest in weight-loss and fitness, the personal training industry is booming.
According to an IBISWorld research paper published in 2015, the industry experienced a growth of 8.7 per cent between 2010 and 2015, and this is set to continue.
So if the demand for personal trainers is increasing, what should we be looking for in a personal trainer?
Credentials, Registration and Insurance
Trusting someone with your health and fitness is no small thing, so you should ensure the trainer you engage is fully qualified and certified.
A Certificate IV in Fitness is the minimum qualification. Some personal trainers may specialise in particular areas such as older adults, children and adolescents and/or advanced aqua training. Some Cert IV trainers go on to complete the more advanced Diploma of Fitness. A Bachelor of Applied Fitness goes even further, combining vocational training with ethics, research and small business management. Those who have gained an exercise science or human movement degree and can demonstrate they have competence in required areas can also register as a personal trainer.
While it’s not essential, registration with either Fitness Australia or Physical Activity Australia can be a useful guide as to the calibre of a trainer. Conditions of registration require relevant qualifications, a current industry-approved first aid certificate, and a continuation of their professional development.
Personal trainers should also have public liability and professional indemnity insurance. It’s important to choose a trainer that has appropriate insurance cover.
Proven track record
The kinds of results people look for can vary, but the majority of people are looking for fat/weight loss, body tone or shaping, increased strength, improved fitness or flexibility or even endurance training. A good personal trainer will be able to show you results they have achieved with other clients. They should also be able to provide client testimonials — stories to illustrate how they made a difference in someone else’s life.
A personal trainer’s job is to help you reach your goals. This means they need to know how to do that. Some of the key things they should be able to do include:
- assess your fitness level
- help you exercise safely and efficiently, according to your goals
- assist you with technique
- monitor your progress and provide feedback
- change your fitness program as your goals/ability change
- provide advice on nutrition, particularly as it relates to your goals.
If the trainer you are thinking of engaging can’t do any of the above, look for another trainer.
While it’s vital personal trainers have the relevant qualifications and experience, it’s just as important for them to have great communication skills. That means being able to listen as well as instruct. You may spend a fair amount of time with this person, so make sure you feel comfortable with their approach and you feel you can speak to them without fear of judgement.
A good personal trainer will be able to recommend a program based on YOUR needs. There is no ‘one-program-fits-all’ when it comes to training. Everyone has different goals and everyone has different strengths and limitations. Your personal trainer should be able to devise a program around injury, pregnancy, pre-existing medical conditions, limited mobility and even disability. A decent personal trainer will put the ‘personal’ into the training.
Uses a scientific approach
There is so much misinformation floating around, particularly on social media, that it can be hard to sort fact from fiction. When engaging a personal trainer, ensure that their advice is sound and backed up by scientific evidence. Avoid trainers who make ridiculous claims or tout dodgy science, or who seem out of their depth when you ask them a question. If they are not an expert in a particular area you are asking about, they should be referring you to someone who is, rather than pretending they know.
They walk the walk
Trainers who tell their clients one thing and do the opposite are not good trainers. They should value their own health and fitness. They should train and they should eat healthy food. A good personal trainer will lead their life with integrity — never asking of their clients what they are not willing to do themselves. They should also be a good example and look fit and healthy.
Someone to motivate and be accountable to
Two of the main reasons people engage personal trainers are motivation and accountability. Trainers need to make their clients accountable if they want results. That means turning up to sessions, working hard during sessions and following any nutrition/lifestyle changes that are recommended. On the flip-side, clients are also looking for motivation to work hard, and to continue to work hard, particularly when results are slow in coming.
Just because a personal trainer doesn’t wear a suit doesn’t mean they don’t have to act like a professional. When it comes to trainers, professionalism is more about the way they conduct themselves, rather than what they wear. You should avoid personal trainers who engage in any of the following behaviour:
- talking or texting on their phone during a client session
- ogling their clients (or other people working out), particularly while training their own client
- flirting with or touching their clients inappropriately
- chewing gum or eating when they train their clients
- sitting or leaning on exercise equipment while their client works out
- using mirrors to check out their own muscles, instead of monitoring their clients’ form
- promising immediate and ‘spectacular’ results
- pressuring you to buy a load of supplements or products they sell personally
- yelling at their clients.
Good personal trainers are highly skilled individuals who can make a significant difference to your health and the way you feel about your body. Find one who is passionate and professional in all they do, and you will never look back.
To get started in a career in personal training, inquire about one of our sports and fitness courses today!